EXCLUSIVE: World Animal Day 2021: An interesting trip in the world of animals & their behaviours

Updated on Oct 06, 2021 02:00 PM IST  |  51.7K
Fun animal facts
Fun facts about animals

The lifespan of an elephant is similar to that of a human, but the gestational period is twice as long. How many of us knew it? Very less. Now, what’s the logic behind this, you ask? There is none, but it is the most-talked about in the animal world because it is the longest.

Remember the folklore that elephants have a strong memory, and can take their revenge even if they are seeing their culprit after as long as 15 years. While it’s true that they have a solid memory, whether they can take their revenge or not is still not proven.

“We know for a fact that happiness and sadness is something that they have, but revenge and lust are emotions that humans possess, we don’t know if animals have it. But yes, their memory is super solid. One of the reasons why they have strong memory can be that they have to traverse longer areas. If they cross an area where they see a waterbody, years later, too, they will remember it,” says Sachin Rai, a wildlife photographer, who has spent years exploring the wild.


Recalling a story, Rai tells you that in Anaimalai Hills, Tamil Nadu, there are human settlements in between the forest. “A tribal man once told me that there is a huge tusker that comes to his house to feed on jackfruit every year, and it never bothers anyone in the village. But just 2 kilometers away, there is another village, and this tusker goes there and creates havoc. That’s apparently because the villagers used to pelt stones on him. So, we don’t know if that is revenge or if it is just a tuned behaviour and a defense mechanism,” says Rai.

Everyone must know that elephants travel in groups, but what one may not know is that only the females are a part of that group. “An elder or the senior-most female leads the herd, and is called matriarch. Her memory is extremely important. While males, on the other hand, are solitary characters. Females make and lead the bunch, and when the matriarch becomes extremely old, her sister, daughter, or anyone else from the group takes that position,” explains Rai.


If you are fond of elephants and want to differentiate between the African and Asian ones, Rai has got you sorted. “In African elephants, both females and males have tusks, while in the Asian ones, only the males have tusks. And not all males have one, they are called Makhnas,” Rai tells you.

Ask Rai about the most interesting animal he has ever seen, and he has a never-ending list to share. However, the most recent one which he had seen during his trip to Jaisalmer is the sandfish. “This is a lizard whose forelimbs are not developed, only the hindlimbs are. And it is in the shape of a snake. So, the irony here is its name is sandfish, it looks like a snake, but is actually a lizard. Can you imagine?,” says Rai.


Interesting enough? Get ready for more. Have you heard about wild dogs? Of course, you did. They don’t bark, but only whistle, and are also known as whistling dogs or hunters. “They are very aggressive and can even go after tigers. Also, they are the only predators that don't invest their time and energy in killing their prey, instead eat them alive. Two of them will hold the prey, and the third one will start tearing up the flesh,” Rai tells you.

We are sure all the animal lovers must have seen thousands of videos that show up in our news feed where a lion or a tiger is trying to hunt down a buffalo. And must have wondered why the others are not chasing the lion away, when they are so many in number. Is it because they are not courageous enough? Rai has an answer. “Courage again is a human emotion. For them it is all about instincts. You will see a lot of videos of African lions chasing a herd of these buffaloes, sometimes the buffalos are able to chase the lion away, and at times they just give up. This is the behaviour we don’t know much about. Whether they don’t want to risk it that time, or when they do, it may be because when their member bleats, it is the sound a prey makes when the lion tries to kill it, it is so painful that it coaxes them to come. Again, if they are coming to help, or they just don’t want the predator there is still something we don’t know much about,” says Rai.

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